As a curator and artist team deeply concerned with social issues that beleaguer our city, we believe that art can move beyond the studio, gallery and museum. We believe that it can do more than reflect or comment on a given set of circumstances. We envision projects that engage directly with the world, creating shared experiences that have the capacity to humanize participants and transform social reality.
Faced with the appalling statistics issued by The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, which estimates the number of homeless Chicagoans at an inexcusable 138,575, our project will connect with and serve one segment of that population, overnight or continuous riders of the CTA. On select nights in February and March, between the hours of midnight and 2 AM, we plan to offer care, attention and unexpected hospitality to people who are literally “at the end of the line” (Howard and 95th Street). Setting up temporary “comfort stations” with seating and heat, offering boutique hot chocolate, warm, gourmet soup and home-baked bread to continuous riders as they move from one platform to the other, we aim to provide a brief, but luxurious reprieve from the cruelty of homelessness in Chicago’s coldest months. This action will be the first of several public interventions into homelessness planned for 2015.
These interventions, scheduled over the course of a year, will create a community of care for the city’s most vulnerable inhabitants – to provide neighbors-in-need the opportunity to connect with artists, entertainers, massage therapists, barbers, support organizations, and more – but also, perhaps more importantly, to provide people of privilege and skill the opportunity to engage in and help build this community, this small-scale, intermittent utopia of hope. This is our art, our curatorial practice: an invitation to give and receive more than mere sustenance, to tap humanizing experiences that may transport individuals from daily reality to the realm of possibility.
Funded by Chicago, IL (February 2015)